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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Agatha Christie: Murder on the Orient Express [Blu-ray]


(Mike Adams, Scott Nixon, 2006)



Review by Gary Tooze



Television: The Adventure Company (II)

Video: Acorn Media



Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:32:50.833

Disc Size: 23,652,425,180 bytes

Feature Size: 15,212,900,352 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.52 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 26th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2061 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2061 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none



• David Suchet on the Orient Express: David Suchet hosts a tour of the Orient Express and recounts its history (47:01 in HD!)
120 years with Agatha Christie
List of Poirot books
Cast filmographies





Description: Traveling from Istanbul to London on the Orient Express, Poirot (David Suchet) must solve the murder of a ruthless businessman. His little grey cells are tested to the limit when the train is trapped by a blizzard in the Serbian mountains. This luscious new adaptation of Dame Christie’s novel was seen on Masterpiece Mystery! in 2010. With Hugh Bonneville, Eileen Atkins, and Barbara Hershey. Includes David Suchet on the Orient Express bonus feature.



The Film:

Murder on the Orient Express has seen many an incarnation - even a computer video game. The plot thickens aboard a luxurious train with Agatha Christie's world-famous detective - the Belgian Hercule Poirot on the case. He investigates a savage murder with... too many suspects.

This version starts with a curiously irrelevant event - the stoning of an adulteress in Istanbul and touches upon Poirot's previous case before boarding the Orient Express on an emergency trip back to London. The characters evolve slowly and the mystery is eventually afoot. This is, by no means as good as Sidney Lumet's 1974 rendition with a stellar cast including Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot, and passengers Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Sean Connery and John Gielgud. Still this 2006 feature carries the iconic story well - with a few quirks. David Suchet is great in the part but you get the feeling to really develop things akin to the book - it would have to be at least a 3-hour affair. For those keen for a quick fix of Poirot - this should fit the bill.

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Despite the transfer limitations there are some excellent visuals in this version of Murder on the Orient Express including some notable depth - almost immediately visible with Poirot on a barge. Acorn Media do a lot of British TV-to-DVD and this Blu-ray marks a departure from some of the travelogue shows they have already put to 1080P.  Detail in close-ups can be impressive but there are some unseemly compression artefacts that pop up.  This is only single-layered and purchasers shouldn't expect too much from the video transfer. Technically it is about double that of DVD with a bitrate approaching 20Mbps. This Blu-ray supports the film consistently in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio but contrast is not particularly deft but it is exceptionally clean. It gave me a decent, if unremarkable, presentation.


















Audio :

Only a 2.0 channel stereo track but it is lossy rendered as a DTS-HD Master at 2061 Kbps. This version of Murder on the Orient Express does not have much aggressive audio but dialogue is very clear and seems a solid representation of the production intent with surprising depth in a few instances. There are optional English subtitles (and burned-in for one instance of Poirot speaking French) and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

Actor David Suchet, still resembling Poirot to some degree, hosts a tour of the Orient Express and recounts its history for almost 50-minutes in HD. I had some interest but overall it is not particularly compelling. There is also some fluffier supplements including '120 years with Agatha Christie', a list of Poirot books and some further text cast filmographies.



I remember doing a book report of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express when I was in grade 7. I think this feature with Suchet does a reasonable job. It's kind of hard to mess-up such an oft-told tale. They didn't diverge too much for the original story and the Blu-ray gave me some reasonable entertainment. My expectations weren't too high and in a few ways I was pleasantly surprised by how well the aura was established. Actually this is short enough to make a decent start to a double feature with another similar mystery - perhaps a vintage noir. Your call... 

Gary Tooze

October 18th, 2010



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze








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